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Why gift card programs are as popular as ever
July 09, 2019
Consumers love gift cards, both giving and receiving. But did you know that gift card programs net big benefits for businesses, too?
The fact is that gift cards are a big—and growing—business:
- A November 2018 found that 84% of US shoppers were likely to purchase one or more gift cards in the 2018 holiday season.
- A September 2018 suggests that digital gift card options are resonating with US consumers. 60% of US internet users surveyed indicated gift cards were the most wanted holiday gift of 2018 (52% of males, 66% of females).
Gift card programs from national chains are perhaps best known. That’s understandable—they’re wildly popular among consumers with some of the most rewarding programs for some of the biggest names in retail, quick serve restaurants and a host of other industries.
What’s less well known is that gift card programs are available for small businesses, too. Gift card programs make sense for businesses of every size, from the biggest national brands to sole proprietors and everything in between.
How gift card programs benefit business owners
A gift card program offers several great benefits for businesses.
Gift card programs are more secure than traditional gift certificates. Paper gift certificates have long been a way for small businesses to offer gifts. However, like cash, paper gift certificates are vulnerability to loss and theft. Whether issued via physical cards or digitally, gift card programs contain modern conveniences as well as protections against loss, theft and fraud.
Gift card programs help promote your brand. Gift cards turn your best customers into brand ambassadors, spreading awareness of your business to potentially new customers. Gift cards offer a vital branding opportunity that’s attached to the positive context of a gift.
Gift card programs offer opportunities to communicate your brand experience whether it’s via the packaging of a physical card, to the card itself, or to the entire virtual experiences around sending, receiving and using digital gift cards.
Gift card programs help increase sales—and cash flow. Gift cards represent not just a single product—in effect, gift cards represent your entire product offering. Gift cards represent a new sales channel that earns revenue in advance of the actual sale when the gift is redeemed. That added boost to short-term revenue can represent a big lift for vital business cash flow.
Gift cards capitalize on holiday shopping. Holidays of all types around the world are celebrated with gifts. When a gift from your business becomes a small part of holiday giving, you’re not only making a sale—you’re making a connection between your company, the gift giver and the recipient.
Why consumers keep turning to gift cards
Gift card programs are more than just marketing. They’re more than just a new revenue stream. They’re a way to start a virtuous cycle of positive feelings around your brand among both existing and hopefully future customers.
It’s easy to accumulate a lengthy list of friends, family, neighbors and colleagues for whom to purchase gifts—especially around holiday seasons. Regardless of whether it’s their brother-in-law or their boss, consumers love giving and receiving gift cards, for any special occasion or even no occasion at all. And that’s just the beginning of why consumers keep turning to gift cards…
Gift cards are personal. Gift cards can show thought was put into the gift through the merchant selected, while empowering the recipient to select the perfect specific gift. Gift cards can help convey the values (and value) of a business and can help express shared values between the giver and recipient.
Gift cards are easy and convenient. Gift cards are easy and fast for the giver to purchase. Today, a wide variety of gift cards are available at locations as diverse as supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations in what are known as gift card “malls”. Of course, online options make gift giving easier than ever, while redeeming virtual gift cards can often take just a few clicks or taps.
Gift cards are perfect for last-minute shoppers. Sometimes, recipients may even reload funds onto the gift card after the original balance has been spent, using it as their personal debit card for that store. This helps ensure that the shopper will return to your location time and time again, and will continue to spend money.
Is there a gift card program right for my business?
You bet. There’s a gift card program available for virtually any type and size business, and the best news is that they’re more affordable and accessible than ever. is a robust gift card solution that can help businesses like yours grow.